Clinical Education Overview

Clinical education provides students with exposure to a variety of physical therapy practice settings and a wide range of patient populations across the lifespan. These full-time experiences take place during the second year of study and immerse students into clinical settings as they learn to function as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Clinical education experiences provide students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to clinical situations under the direct supervision and guidance of experienced physical therapist clinicians. In clinical learning environments, students develop safe and effective skills in all aspects of patient care while also developing the ability to work as an integral part of the interprofessional healthcare team.  

Clinical Education Curriculum

The clinical education curriculum is designed to offer a variety of clinical settings to expose students to diverse patient populations, offer a chance to apply contemporary knowledge and practice from different specialties, establish effective communication and clinical reasoning skills, practice patient advocacy for health care promotion, and promote clinical inquiry for life-long learning.

The clinical education curriculum consists of 30 weeks of clinical experiences distributed across the program, comprised of an eight-week inpatient experience, and eight-week outpatient experience, and a 14-week specialty experience.

PHYT 7971 Physical Therapy Practice I is an integrated 8-week full time clinical experience scheduled for the fourth academic semester. Students spend a minimum of 36 hours per week in direct patient care. This clinical experience may be in either the inpatient or outpatient setting including acute care, post-acute, long-term rehabilitation, or outpatient orthopedic settings.

  • Students complete all foundational patient management coursework prior to PHYT 7971 and are fully prepared to treat patients with musculoskeletal, neurologic, and cardiopulmonary dysfunctions in a variety of inpatient or outpatient practice settings.
  • Students complete the PHYT 7411 Management of Complex Patients course concurrently with this clinical experience to closely integrate didactic and clinical education experiences.

PHYT 7972 Physical Therapy Practice II is the second integrated 8-week full time clinical during the 5th academic semester and may be in any practice setting. Students engage in a minimum of 36 hours per week of direct patient care. This clinical experience may be in either the inpatient or outpatient setting.

  • Students continue to complete PHYT 7504 Business Management and PHYT 7413 Primary Care Physical Therapy as they directly relate to clinical education experiences including medical screening, differential diagnosis, and management skills to allow students to directly apply the concepts learned in these didactic courses to their patients and practice.

PHYT 7973 Physical Therapy Practice III is a 14-week full time clinical experience during the 6th academic semester. Students engage in a minimum of 36 hours per week of direct patient care and 2-4 hours of concurrent didactic coursework. The terminal experience is designed to provide exposure to a variety of patient presentations and diagnoses to develop strong entry-level skills. experience is intended to focus a specialty practice which may include pediatrics, geriatrics, women’ s health, sports medicine, aquatic therapy, or neurology. 

  • In the final semester, PHYT 7502 Professional Competencies II and PHYT 7910 Capstone are taken concurrently during the final clinical experience. The large depth of professional knowledge and skill is the specific goal of this experience, thereby preparing the student for licensure and clinical practice.

What makes our clinical education program different?

  1. Placement Variety: Students will experience an inpatient and outpatient experience along with two different specialty settings in at least one medically underserved area to provide students with a breadth of diverse patient and practice exposure. 
  2. Placement Process: The clinical education team at BGSU begins the vetting process of procuring a variety clinical site agreements based on cohort demographics and program requirements. Students are invited to complete a “Wishlist” which will allow the clinical education team to match students based on their clinical education site desires while also considering the student’s past experiences, site location, quality of clinical faculty/site, student goals, and residency options.  
  3. Integrated Curriculum: Didactic courses taken concurrently during clinical education allow students to "bring the classroom into the clinic, and the clinic into the classroom". Students directly apply the concepts learned in these didactic courses to their patients and then share these clinical experiences with their class during case-based discussions and assignments.
  4. Career-Focused: A terminal internship experience in a specialty concentration allows each student to align their clinical education with their professional practice goals. These terminal experiences fully prepare students for post-professional residency opportunities and/or entry-level practice in a clinical practice setting of their choosing.
  5. Clinical faculty: Clinical faculty are an integral part of our clinical experiences for students, and so we invest in those faculty by offering them access to library and Access Physiotherapy textbook resources as well as the opportunity to structure your clinical hands-on experiences to complement your online curriculum. Many of your clinical faculty in the final internship are specialists in their field, have completed residency or fellowship training, and are chosen for their expertise and eagerness to work with students. 

Clinical education is essential in developing our students into highly competent clinicians for successful entry into the physical therapy profession upon graduation. We are committed to providing opportunities that will allow our students to work in a wide variety of settings and ultimately be positioned to transition to a residency position after graduation if desired. The profession of physical therapy is moving forward, and our clinical education program is focused on keeping our graduates ahead of the curve.

Updated: 12/01/2021 02:46PM